EATS: Kettle Revisited

The first time I visited Kettle (in Shangri-La Plaza Mall along EDSA), we ordered the two dishes that made the restaurant popular: Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Corn Bread and Pork and Potatop Strips appetizer. At first, I found the experience underwhelming. But when I got to visit again and decided to explore the menu with Boy Next Door, Kettle is unfolding into a totally different, must-revisit dining experience!

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Butter Milk Fried Chicken with Honey Glazed Corn Bread and Gravy at Php 559 per serving.

The exploring began when we ordered their Australian Lamb Adobo (Php 499) and the dish surprised me. It’s one of the dishes I haven’t forgotten from last year’s EATS and it got me curious about the rest of their menu.

See below for dishes we got to try recently:

Must Try! US Angus Short Ribs braised in Cervesa Negra and Chipotle BBQ Sauce, Garlic Mashed Potato and Coleslaw at Php 539 per serving.

 

Must Try! Mac and Four Cheese (Cheddar, Fontina, Gruyere, Parmesan with Bacon!) at Php 289 per serving.
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Must Try! Truffle Gorgonzola: Spaghetti, Truffle Cream, Fried Basil and Parmesan for Php 299 per serving.

What do you think of Kettle? Let me know!

DIY: Bouquet of Paper Roses

As one of our exercises for an event styling class, we were asked to make a bouquet made of non-living things. In short, we had to use any other material except for real and freshly cut flowers. Since I am a self-proclaimed book hoarder, I decided to use one of my old books as my main material for the bouquet.

NOTE: Yes. I cut up a book. Please don’t judge. Hah!

I basically followed 100layercake.com for the step by step instructions in making my very own paper flower bouquet. It was, to say the least, the most tedious project I’ve had to do on my own since I graduated from High School! It took me 6 hours to finish just one bouquet made of six big paper roses, and a semi-toasted hand because of the glue gun.

See below for the photos! :)

 

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My materials: an old book, pair of scissors, thin steel wire and masking tape to secure the whole flower once done.
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The petals had to be cut one by one. 5 different sizes (4 petals for each size) to make one paper rose!
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The first ever paper rose I got to complete!

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The final output!

Now that I am sharing this experience here, I can’t help but ask myself if I were willing to do it again. I suppose I would, but this time to try the method of CapitalRomance.com, which ultimately skipped the step of cutting the petals per piece!

EATS: Rural Kitchen of Liliw Laguna

The best part of dating boy next door is is that we share the same interest and love for good food. In fact, he is the more diligent one in terms of looking up must-try restaurants and shares to me the links of these restaurants he wants to try out. One of such restaurants is the Rural Kitchen of Liliw Laguna by Chef Justin Sarabia.

Hole in the wall? Definitely. We never would have guessed the restaurant would be right beside the 7 Eleven in a building called HRC Center along Rada St. Entering the restaurant felt like being transported into a quaint and modern Filipino house, adorned traditional art pieces and furniture.

The dining experience? One of a kind. See below for proofs!

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Complimentary Bonete bread all the way from Liliw Laguna! Comes with three dips/spreads, the unforgettable one being their inalamangang santol (farthest to the left).
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Must Try! Crispy Squid at Php 285 per plate.
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Pork Adobo at Php 340 per plate.
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Must Try! Beef Mechado at Php 480 per plate.

If we were to visit again (which we agreed we would), I would like to give their Pork Binagoongan a try!

 

OPEN CLOSET: 3 Dresses for Sale

Dear girl friends,

I am a fan of dressing well–if not fabulously. We owe it to ourselves to wear clothes that would do nothing more than to emphasise the best versions of ourselves. It does come with a price, I know. But to me, it’s a small price to pay  for something that will represent who we are. :)

Let me start by saying that I am no fashion guru. In fact, my closet is a full-on Basic B closet. But like any other girl (who’s with me!!), I have a tendency to hoard. So much so that I have pieces in my closet that I haven’t touched since I first held them in the shops I bought them from.

Below are three dresses from my personal closet, for sale. The details of each dress can be found in the caption attached to the photo.

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Brand: Mango | Size: USA 2 | Condition: Never been used | Original Price: Php 1,290 | Selling Price: Php 800 – Negotiable!
OpenClosetDress2
Brand: Ever New | Size: USA 2 | Condition: Never been used | Original Price: Php 3,590 | Selling Price: Php 2,000 – Negotiable!
OpenClosetDress1
Brand: Forever21 | Size: USA Small | Condition: Used 8 times since 2014 | Original Price: Php 1,090 | Selling Price: Php 450 – Negotiable!

Found any of the pieces above interesting? Let’s talk!

Facebook: facebook.com/aixmontes

Instagram: instagram.com/aixmontes

Twitter: twitter.com/aixmontes

Hope to hear from you soon!

Finally: Les Miserables in Manila

My siblings and I grew up singing along and listening to our eldest sister Ate April’s old Les Miserables casette tape. She had everything: Hugo’s unabridged version of the book, a VHS of the broadway’s 25th anniversary concert and a book of the broadway music sheets. I specifically remember my sister teaching me how to sing Cosette’s ‘Castle on a Cloud’ while she played on the piano. So when the broadway finally came to Manila, I was beyond psyched!

The set was amazing and the cast was just perfect! I literally had goose bumps every time Jean Valjean and Javert do their solos on stage. I have to admit, I was wow-ed by Rachelle Ann Go’s performance.

On a side (but very important) note, we were all nostalgic after the show, remembering how Ate April made it a point for us to love both the story and the broadway.

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After watching the broadway, we had tea time at Solaire’s Oasis Garden Cafe. Php 888 for four pieces of scones, six pieces of hors d’oeuvre, and another six pieces of pastries/desserts. The set come with a pot of Oasis branded tea, and we got to try their variant Passion Green Tea, infused with passion fruit flavors. I have to hand it to them, the tea was pretty good! IMG_0370IMG_0363IMG_0364IMG_0314

Here’s to more nights we will never forget! :)

2 Years in the Food Business

For Mariella, my mentor and my dear friend. 

It’s been two wonderful years with the company I’m working for. Since this has been the longest time I’ve managed to stay put in one work place, now would be the perfect time to assess where I had been, where I am, and where I am headed with the company. Admittedly, I’m still the 4’11 smiley girl the company hired. But I feel like a lot has changed in me since, and I want to take this time to process all of it before another work day starts tomorrow and I, for some usual reason, forget to hit pause. 

The  one key person who has influenced me in so many ways the past two years was my mentor and boss, Ms. Ella. Apart from introducing the world of Merchandising to me, she has also given me countless opportunities for me to handle other food-related projects that relied heavily on R&D with the Chefs, and other aspects related to Catering. It involved a number of back-breaking events which required for us to literally plate food, orient third party wait staff, check on the uniforms of the staff, clean out service trays ourselves, etc. Then we took up classes for event styling, because it came to the point that our Catering services required a more premium way of styling buffet tables and cocktail tables. All of that, on top of the daily numbers, stock monitoring, buying, and attending to visual merchandising requirements for the brands.

The thing is, I knew I was being given more than what I signed up for, and part of the very ordinary side of me wanted to question why some of these tasks were given to me. But at the end of each day, I knew I was able to press on because of three things: 1) in reality, these projects came with learnings I will never get from staying in front of my computer the whole day; 2) Ms. Ella’s love for the business was so contagious, it made me want to be good at it, too; and most importantly 3) it felt like she truly believed in all of us. It’s surprising how it felt like I could do anything (and I did!) knowing she had faith in me.

In one of our most recent conversations, she shared with me one of the things she learned being in the group for almost 7 years. To this day, I haven’t forgotten and it serves as my day-to-day motivation to get up and try to do better than I did the day before. I may not remember it in verbatim, but the idea is this: don’t sit around and wait for a promotion. Prove you can handle being in a higher position by doing more and being more than what your current position requires. You can only go as far as the limitations you determine for yourself. That made so much sense, right?

Being grateful is too small a phrase to describe what I feel about my first two years with the company.  How could I find the perfect phrase for it when it has changed me so?

It still is a roller coaster but every single day is justified by every learning that comes with the ride. I am fortunate to have been given the chance to be mentored by Ms. Ella the way that she had, and even more lucky to be with people who are driven and fun to work with. I am looking forward to more years with the group, with more projects to add under my belt, and hopefully–if circumstances permit–more brands to cover. :)

 

Dinner Escape to the 30’s

Ooops! The post was accidentally deleted. All I can salvage are the photos from my gallery. As I cannot re-write the whole post anymore, I do hope the photos can speak for themselves!

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Above is the menu line up for our 4-course meal. The dinner table was completed with sheets of paper that had information about the kitchen staff of the house (most of whom had served the family during the time of Tita Moning herself) and brief write ups about the decors on the table.
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Mine: Citrus Scented Almondigas with Chickpeas
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HIS: Mushroom Soup with Crispy Shitake
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Starter: Platter of Salad and Crudites from the Garden, accompanied with Anchovy Dip
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Beef Fillet with Malagos Cheese Butter
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His: Baked Lapu Lapu Parcels with Roasted Vegetables and Herbs
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Tita Moning’s signature Bread Pudding
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Fresh Fruit Pavlova

Unforgettable Eats: Second Half of 2015

Time surely runs through our finger tips like water does, doesn’t it? Look at that, we’re already closing the year and about to open a new one!

I initially thought of doing my usual year-end recap here but came to the realisation that I still owe you the second installation to my entry ‘Unforgettable Eats: First Half of 2015‘. Much thanks to my food loving family, close friends, and officemates, the second half of the year did not disappoint in terms of dining experiences. Hah! So instead of sharing with you all the things I did this year (trust me, you won’t benefit much from that anyway), let me again share with you the unforgettable eats that closed my 2015. :)

1) Ooma Japanese Rice Bar’s Scallops and Tuna Aburi Maki

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This was stellar. Not only because this was a treat by my friend and officemate for my birthday, but also because their rolls were on point! I especially liked the pairing of the scallops and the tuna in this roll. Up next to target for 2016 would definitely be Mecha Uma.

2) Salad Stop!’s Hail Caesar Wrap

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Need. I. Say. More. If you haven’t tried Salad Stop!’s Hail Caesar Wrap, stop reading this entry and head on to the nearest Salad Stop! branch NOW. The holidays are almost over, this would be the perfect way to curb your carnivorous diet the past weeks. Don’t forget to add grilled chicken to it! ;)

3) Nikkei’s Green Ceviche

Nikkei

When we visited this Japanese-Peruvian restaurant for the first time on a Friday night, the place was jam-packed and alive with the buzz of laughter and conversation. We took our seats by the bar, which turned out great because we thoroughly enjoyed watching the chefs prepare the food. This Green Ceviche would be difficult to top. It’s made of fish, octopus and prawns mixed in wasabi cream, red onions cilantro, and topped with thinly sliced crunchy sweet potato strings. The Parmesan Scallops were up there, too!

4) Lazy Bastard’s Honey Parmesan Dog

LazyBastard

Imagine our delight when this burger joint opened up along our office’s street! It was a refreshing addition to our very limited options for lunch out, and the food is awesome. This Honey Parmesan Dog (a recommendation by my boss) is something I’d keep going back to the place for. The hot dog is wrapped in very thinly sliced bacon, deep fried to crispy perfection, finished with parmesan cheese, a few pieces of rocket and a drizzle of honey. Writing all of this down is making me salivate. Let’s move on to the next.

5) Senju’s Hotate Motoyaki

Senju

This year, I discovered scallops. Scallops in congee spoons or open-faced shells, buttered scallops or topped with parmesan (as in Nikkei’s), you name it. These Baked Scallops with Miso Gratin by Senju won this year’s hunt for the best scallops in terms of flavors and portions!

6) Marufuku’s  Beef Tofu Steak

Marufuku

Papa talked about Marufuku a lot, and I’m glad we made a visit to the Japanese restaurant before the year ended. The dish that stood out the most was this Beef Tofu Steak. I loved that the tofu was wrapped in thinly sliced beef (there seems to be a common theme going here), making a fresh difference to all the other tofu steaks I’ve tried.

7) Marison’s Crispy Kare Kare

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If you’re living right smack in the middle of the metro, going to Marison’s might take a little bit of a drive. It’s a home grown Filipino restaurant in Antipolo (2 branches so far), and this Crispy Kare Kare of theirs is very very good!

8) Va Bene’s Black Ink Tagliolini

VaBene

The one thing I love best about having lunch out with a chef is that he/she knows what to order. This dish was recommended by our Executive Chef when we had lunch with him and I hadn’t forgotten this dish since. The serving of the mixed seafood was generous with the marinara sauce and the black ink pasta added a good twist to it. Just make sure though that this is served hot.

9) Marcia Adams’ Classic Shish Kebabs

Marcia Adams

Lamb is another meat I’d just started getting used to. This particular experience was a good mix of the ambiance of the place, the service, [the man], and the full course meal that we had. We started the night with Alamafi Prawns as our appetizer (too bad though I wasn’t able to take a photo). I specifically loved the flavor and texture of that dish. Then for dinner, I got the Classic Shish Kebab. Big plate, big serving, and the lamb bursted with flavor.

10) Ohsama Ramen House’s Salmon Volcano Roll

Ohsama Ramen House

THIS would be my salmon dish for the year. Each roll is so big it would require two to three bites to eat (no, devour) it. Ha ha! I really don’t know how to describe this because really, this is something you need to experience for yourself. Go out, bring a date, and e-mail me if you have any complaint. Ha ha!

This, my dear friends, wraps up my 2015. Looking forward to more adventures in discovering [and re-discovering] food with loved ones in 2016! A happy new year to you! :)